Why does a dog wheeze and how to treat wheezing in dogs?

Wheezing in dogs is characteristic of so many diseases. By themselves, they are a definite symptom and manifest as pathological respiratory noise.

They divide rales into dry and wet, depending on the source of their origin (bronchi, lungs or trachea) and a number of other reasons.


Wet rales or blistering occur when blood, exudate or transudate accumulates in the airways and air passes through it with noise. Such wheezing is heard both during inhalation and in exhalation. Sometimes they can be heard even at a distance from the animal when a large amount of contents is accumulated in the organs of respiration. Such strong rales are characteristic of:

  • bronchitis,
  • pulmonary edema
  • pulmonary hemorrhage
  • bronchopneumonia.

Cracking or crepitating rales are better discernible on exhalation. They occur when the air is straightened together, which is characteristic of atelectasis, pulmonary emphysema, pneumonia and fibrosis. Dry rales occur in the presence of a viscous secretion and a narrowing of the lumen of the bronchi or trachea. More pronounced during expiration and characteristic of bronchitis, airway obstruction, bronchospasm.

An inspiratory whistle or stridor is a noisy breathing that occurs when the lumen of the upper respiratory tract is significantly narrowed and is characteristic of BCS, paralysis of the glottis, foreign body entering the trachea.

Why does a dog wheeze

A common cause of wheezing in French bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese, boxers is brachiocephalic syndrome. This is a narrowing of the lumen of the nostrils and excessive growth of the palatine curtain, leading to a decrease in the volume of inhaled air. The animal almost constantly breathes with its mouth open, whistling and wheezing, snoring at night.

In case of allergic reactions, tracheal intubation or ingress of foreign objects into the oral cavity, laryngeal edema or laryngospasm may occur. In elderly animals, there is paralysis of the vocal and laryngeal ligaments, which is accompanied by shortness of breath and even fainting. Decorative breeds of dogs (chihuahua, toy terriers, Yorkshire terriers, spitz and others) are most susceptible to tracheal collapse.

At first, it begins with a cough, and then it becomes burdened by shortness of breath, loss of consciousness. A dog may wheeze if suddenly a foreign body is inhaled, including a piece of dry food. Neoplasms can occur in the respiratory system, which is accompanied by shortness of breath and cough, sometimes with blood. One of the most common causes of wheezing, especially during the cold season, is bronchitis or pneumonia. They are usually accompanied by coughing. Also, wheezing in a dog may occur due to pulmonary edema, which is also accompanied by shortness of breath and pallor of mucous membranes.

Treatment of wheezing in dogs

Treatment depends directly on the cause of wheezing, which is detected as a result of X-ray, laryngo-tracheo-bronchoscopy and other types of diagnostic examinations. So for the treatment of brachiocephalic syndrome, paralysis of the vocal cords and larynx, severe cases of tracheal collapse, surgical intervention is necessary.

Laryngeal edema and laryngospasm are treated with drugs that relieve swelling. You may also need artificial lung ventilation. When a foreign body enters the respiratory tract, bronchoscopy and endoscopic removal of the object is necessary.

When a neoplasm appears, treatment depends on its nature and location. This may be thoracotomy, chemotherapy or refusal of treatment due to the late stage. With bronchitis and pneumonia, it is used antitussive drugs and antibiotic therapy.

Pulmonary edema in a dog is treated with intensive anti-edema therapy; artificial respiration may be necessary. It is important to establish the exact cause of its occurrence, for example, a viral infection or heart failure. The success of treatment will depend on it.



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